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160520_Sibling Swarm Trap CR Janelle Low

Swarm trap made by Sibling shot by Janelle Low

Swarm Trap

‘Swarm Trap’ is an exhibition of conceptual and functional architectural objects made for one of the planet’s more important species – bees.

Curated by MANY MANY and Honey Fingers, it opens at the Nishi Gallery in Canberra on Thursday 30 June at 6PM in collaboration with Hotel Hotel.

Swarming is the natural reproductive process of the European honey bee (Apis mollifier) super-organism.

The goal of a swarm of bees is to establish a new colony in a new home. The queen bee leaves the hive with about half of the worker bees, her daughters, swarming around her. Meanwhile, in the hive they left behind, a newly hatched queen is born and the cycle of life continues.

The goal of a swarm trap is to catch swarms before the bees set up shop in an inappropriate place and the pest exterminator is called in. Catching a swarm encourages sustainable, backyard beekeeping – the more bees under loving management in backyards the better these precious pollinators will be positioned to handle the looking threat of the varroa mite (Varroa destructor) and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Australia is currently varroa and CCD free. Here, we are experiencing a golden age of beekeeping. The 12 objects exhibited are tributes to this good fortune, to honey bees and to sustainable, small-scale beekeeping.

After the exhibition the swarm traps will be installed in the city, suburbs and bush between Canberra and Melbourne in the Spring of 2016.

‘Swarm Trap’ includes works by

Beci Orpin
Ben Blakebrough
Field Experiments
Honey Fingers
Loose Leaf
Madeleine Mills
Nicholas Ashby
Pam Studio x Honey Fingers
Soft Baroque

We’ll see you there.

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Swarm Trap

Tim Jarvis: 25zero

This guy is a wrecking machine and he’s hungry!

Raw like sushi… Or the story of the misunderstood brutes of concrete architecture

What matters?

Suzi McKinnon and Jai Tongbor

Adam and Amy Coombes

Sam and Claire Johnson

The daily rituals of Matt and Lentil

New rituals for play

The daily rituals of others (part two)

The ritual of limbering up

The daily ritual of long walks

Oyster dressing with guanciale with piquillo peppers, basil and chilli

How to make toys from trash

How to make camp furniture

Within Without

WHEN Every day at sunset and sunrise
WHERE National Gallery of Australia

One-day art book shop

WHEN Saturday July 16 from 10AM to 5PM. 
WHERE Hotel Hotel library on the ground floor

Southside Farmer’s Market

WHEN Every Sunday from 8AM to 11.30AM
WHERE CIT Southside Campus, Phillip

Streets of Papunya

WHEN Sunday 15 July until Sunday 14 August
WHERE Drill Hall Gallery, ANU

Peace, Love and War: the Denmans, Empire and Australia, 1910–1917

WHEN Saturday 30 July to Sunday 13 November


WHEN Friday 19 August until Sunday 27 November
WHERE National Portrait Gallery of Australia

The beginning of genius is being scared shitless. ― Louis-Ferdinand Céline


The home of the future

Thomas Thwaites did some thinking about the ‘home of the future’. He began with a classic futurism technique of deciding upon two factors, then imagining each factor changing to different extremes.

Thomas Thwaites did some thinking about the 'home of the future'. He began with a classic futurism technique of deciding upon two factors, then imagining each factor changing to different extremes.


Scenario one: ‘Current Trends’… Less equality and better infrastructure

So a lot has happened over the course of twenty years, some of it good, some of it not so good, some of it tragic, most of it pretty unpredictable. But, you’re still here, living life, on your way back to your place at the end of quite a long day.

Tim Jarvis

Tim Jarvis: 25zero

Originally written by Emma McRae for our friends over at Assemble Papers.

As an environmental maverick, Tim Jarvis is a busy man. If he’s not undertaking expeditions to the North or South Pole, completing the first unsupported crossing of the Great Victorian Desert, or building an exact replica of the James Caird lifeboat to recreate Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1916 voyage, he can be found doing public speaking tours across the US, promoting his books or documentaries, or working as what he calls “a sustainability innovator” for Arup projects.

Tim Jarvis on South Georgia crossing during the Shackleton Epic in 2013. Jarvis and his team sailed a replica James Caird lifeboat 1500km across the Southern Ocean from Antartica to South Georgia before climbing its mountainous interior using 1916-era equipment, clothing and technology. Photo by Paul Larsen.

When Jarvis undertakes a new project, you can be sure it will not be easy. Most recently, Jarvis has been working around the clock on his latest major expedition and global environmental campaign, 25zero. For 25zero, he has organised teams of adventurers to climb the 25 mountains near the equator that still have glaciers. The project takes its name from those mountains and the fact that in 25 years, due to human-induced climate change, those glaciers will no longer exist.

The project launched during COP21, the UN’s pivotal international climate conference that took place in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015 [at the time of writing, a universal agreement on climate change was adopted by 195 nations – an accord not without its challenges, but landmark nonetheless – AP ed.]. Day one of the conference saw Jarvis and his team (which includes Scottish producer, director and camera operator Ed Wardle, mountain leader chief instructor for the UK Royal Marines Barry ‘Baz’ Gray, and Singaporean adventurer Khoo Swee Chiow) standing at the summit of Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya) in Indonesia, beaming images and video of the two glaciers (Carstensz Glacier and East Northwall Firn) around the world. Simultaneously, a joint British–Kenyan team were climbing Mount Kenya; a team organised by Melbourne-based Intrepid Travel (which includes Peter Holmes à Court and his wife, renowned photographer Alissa Everett) climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania; and a secondary-school team from Colegio Anglo Colombiano (including students, teachers and climbing instructors) climbed Nevado del Tolima in Colombia. In all, six mountains were climbed over the 12 days of the conference. “The intention,” Jarvis says, “is to light a fire so the other 19 will be climbed over time. And that gives us the opportunity to really turn 25zero into a movement.”

Tim Jarvis at the summit of Carstensz Pyramid, which reaches an altitude of nearly 5000m in the central western highlands province of Papua, Indonesia. Photo by Ed Wardle/25zero.

25zero has been forming in Jarvis’s mind for over two years. “The genesis of the idea came when I was down in the sub-Antarctic, crossing the island of South Georgia, which is the place Shackleton escaped to when his ship was crushed in the ice.” Climbing those same mountains, the last leg of the Shackleton journey, was something of a personal test for Jarvis, who undertook the Shackleton Epic fuelled by a desire for self-knowledge that he finds through pushing himself beyond his known limits. His expeditions, books and films also serve, of course, to promote his endless passion for the environment. As he climbed the same mountains as Shackleton, Jarvis too had to cross a number of massive glaciers, each several kilometres wide. To his dismay, Jarvis found that the third glacier was now a lake – it had since melted. “I remember thinking at the time [that] it’s such a powerful, visual indicator of an otherwise very intangible problem.”

A crisp panorama from an ice cave under Margherita Glacier, Mount Stanley, Uganda. Photo by Ed Wardle/25zero.

We humans are evidence-based creatures. For many who live in cities, well-protected from the most dramatic effects of climate change, the urgent realities of our changing environment can seem remote in both consideration and care. Says Jarvis, “The problem with climate change is that you can’t see, taste or smell carbon and for most people it’s too remote and invisible. The problem with the Arctic and the Antarctic is there’s just too much residual snow around and it masks, superficially, the evidence of what’s going on. In the tropics, there is no residual ice and snow around, apart from the ice in these glaciers. Everything else around is either green or brown. So [glacial melt] really stands out very clearly.” Jarvis was driven to do something of profound impact during COP21 that would draw attention to the global effects of climate change. By using these glaciers to illustrate those effects, the project also highlights the fact that many of the worst effects of climate change will be felt in these equatorial regions where, by 2050, approximately five of the estimated nine million people inhabiting the planet will live.

For the local communities living at the foot of these mountains, like the Dani tribe of the Indonesian province of Papua, or the Bakonzo people in the Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda, the effects of climate change are much more tangible. In preparation for 25zero, Jarvis and his team worked closely with these local communities. The locals, who know their mountains intimately (the Bakonzo porters are descendants of the porters who assisted the Duke of Abruzzi in 1906, the first time the mountain was climbed), have provided guidance and route-finding, and are leading 25zero teams to the base of each mountain.

Jarvis near the glacial edge of the Antarctic during the ‘Mawson Expedition’ (2007). The uncertain state of the Antarctic served as inspiration for the later 25zero project.

Jarvis lives in South Australia – a state that, on a sunny, windy day, can get 100% of its energy from renewables. This is incredibly impressive in a country that, as Jarvis puts it, “has been a bit tardy on uptake of renewables”. The South Australian government has contributed financially to 25zero, and with this support, Jarvis really wants the project to bring awareness to people not already engaged with the concerns of climate change. “There’s plenty of preaching to the converted that goes on in the environment movement, so the idea is to try and spread [the message] more widely.” In order to do so, significant time and vision have gone into working out how to communicate with the greatest impact and speed. The climbing teams are using the Inmarsat system to show the conditions at each of the summits through images and video posted on the project website, YouTube and other social media platforms; they also record blog entries that show their location on the 3D geo-referenced maps of each mountain. Jarvis hopes that by circulating tangible and striking visual evidence of the effects of climate change rather than pure data, statistics and opinions, 25zero will combine solid information with emotional incentive – the balance needed to motivate people to take action.

During COP21 and beyond, actively involving the public is a major tenet of 25zero. Anyone who feels up to the challenge can participate in the climbs, either by contacting Jarvis and joining one of the official climbing teams (Jarvis says some of the climbs are technically challenging, “but there’s a good 15 or 16 that most people with some good fitness could have a crack at”), or by downloading the custom-built app and doing an equivalent climb in their own local area. “The app will allow people to climb the hill in the Dandenong Ranges or in the Blue Mountains or Mount Lofty with a team of one, two or four people and their iPhone [the app only works with iPhone 6 and above, which provides elevation support] will measure their altitude gain and keep a running tally of how many metres they’ve gone up. So they can virtually climb the mountains that we are actually climbing.” As you reach certain heights, the app provides information on flora and fauna at those altitudes, on the conditions of the glaciers and also lets people know what they can do, as individuals or as organisations, to take meaningful action. Participants are encouraged to ask friends and family to sponsor them to raise funds that go towards WWF-Australia’s (Jarvis is a global ambassador) climate change projects, some of which are not country-specific, but a certain proportion will support the local communities within the countries where 25zero mountains are situated.

Tim Jarvis with the wind in his sails during the gruelling Mawson expedition in 2007. Photo courtesy of Tim Jarvis.

So, 25zero is an expedition (or 25 expeditions) that is also a community-building project, an awareness-building project, climate change activism and, in the future, a documentary. While the project continues beyond the conclusion of the COP21 (Jarvis is adamant about the need for continued climate-awareness action into the future), his focus in the lead-up to the project was on the need for meaningful decisions to result from the COP21 talks. For Jarvis, this includes three main outcomes: a legally-binding agreement, meaningful percentage reductions in carbon emissions that will allow us to stick to two degrees Celsius of warming [the adopted Paris Agreement outlines a more ambitious goal: to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – AP ed.] and action plans to get us there. Jarvis is insistent that “pie-in-the-sky commitments without any tangible way of delivering them” are not enough. He asks: “How are we taking cars off the road? How are we encouraging electric vehicles? What about solar PV subsidies, what are we doing about renewables? Are we going to decommission any coal-fired power stations over and above the ones that are currently in the pipeline? What is the structural change to the electricity grid going to look like to allow us to deliver on these kinds of commitments? We need to see how these targets that our politicians blindly commit us to are going to be achieved.”

A folded limestone rock above Lake Lawson, Carstensz Pyramid, West Papua. Photo by 25zero.

Each year that passes without an international commitment to reduce CO2 emissions brings the deadline for restricting global warming to two degrees worryingly close. The melting of these 25 (plus other) glaciers contributes to rising sea levels (increasing the risk of island nations such as the Maldives and the Torres Strait Islands disappearing under water), changes salt levels in the oceans (affecting marine ecosystems and the survival of numerous marine organisms), affects the biodiversity of the regions surrounding the glaciers and reduces availability of freshwater (affecting farming and electricity).

But Jarvis, as always, is hopeful. Encouraged by a new political engagement with climate change in Australia, Jarvis wants to inspire people to take physical action by “using the technology that keeps people indoors to send them back outdoors”. 25zero has been planned and designed to offer people clear insight on how individual actions can contribute to collective solutions and action on climate change. The path ahead may be uphill, but Jarvis is determined to make it an adventure, inspiring people to climb mountains, even if, for most of us, it is only virtually. “Keep watching the website. And as we call in from the mountain, that’ll be me, as a little dot, hopefully near the summit, puffing and panting my way up the mountain.”


Thanks Assemble Papers for letting us steal your stories sometimes.

Find out more about the 25zero campaign at 25zero.com. And see where you can get your hands on the latest Assemble Papers print issue here (and we have some at the Hotel Hotel library).

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Oyster dressing with guanciale with piquillo peppers, basil and chilli

Makes 500 grams


  • 1 brown onion (diced)
    2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
    3 birds eye chillies (sliced)
    1 can piquillo peppers (strained and finely diced)
    200ml Oloroso sherry
    500g guanciale
    ½ bunch basil (finely sliced)


In a medium pot, on low, sauté your onions, garlic and chilli in a little vegetable oil.

Cook until the onions become translucent.

Add sherry and reduce until the liquid has almost all evaporated.

Add the peppers and simmer for five minutes.

Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Carefully slice the skin off the guanciale and finely dice (about 5mm thick).

In a small pan gently render the guanciale until the fat becomes translucent.

To serve place a small teaspoon of piquillo pepper on each oyster and top with warm guanciale and shredded basil, serve immediately.

Our head chef Dan says that really any oyster is good with this dressing but he likes Rusty Wire oysters from Moonlight Flat Oysters for this recipe because they have a nice robust flavour (and they are nice and big so you can put more on there).

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Getting on the Grass

Words by Bubble, images by Lee Grant.

I would have liked to put it down to something less superficial but in reality it was romance and good looks that got me interested in tennis.

Though I have known the basics of the game and how to use a racket since I was 12, it wasn’t until 2009, when a friend showed me a book by the French photographer Giasco Bertoli called 'Tennis Courts', that the beauty of the sport dawned on me. In it, Bertoli very simply presents empty courts from around the world; some still functioning and others abandoned, reclaimed by nature as weeds grow through their cracked surfaces and nets’ decay.

When that same friend of mine soon became a housemate we joined Bertoli in this aesthetic appreciation of the court, together taking evening walks through neighbourhoods, marvelling at the beauty of these sleepy sports grounds as they lay in waiting for the next game to be played. In 2013, at which point my friend and housemate had – yes, you might have guessed it – become my boyfriend, I returned the favour and gave him a copy of Bertoli’s second photographic series on tennis courts titled 'Tennis Courts II'. A day later we got engaged.

I’ve never been a good tennis player but I come from a family of them. My mum has played weekly social for as long as I can remember with her friends Joy, Rhonda and Jenny, which I've always thought are names amazingly suited to finger sandwiches and sponge cakes in clubhouses. My elder brother, probably the most talented in our family, reached the upper echelons of our local tennis club in his mid teens. His left handed-ness makes his game an elegant one to watch, which I would do from the sidelines as I was growing up. My fiancé it turns out was also a childhood tennis talent, at one point facing off in a doubles match with his dad against Nick and Mark Philippoussis that he won. It’s a small claim to fame but we take what we can get.

While I have an okay back hand, I can easily double fault my way through entire games and my forehand is so unreliable it’s infuriating. I also have a temper. When things aren’t going well, which they mostly aren’t, I whack balls and drop my racket on the ground, earning me the cute but annoying nickname “Little McEnroe.”

On the first Sunday of this year my fiancé and I unwrapped the rackets we’d bought for each other last Christmas and headed down to some local courts. There’s nothing worse than a couple who exercise together but here we were, ready to take our joined aesthetic appreciation of the game into a practical one.

Since then we’ve played every Sunday at a different court around the city on various types of grass, concrete and clay. Much of what I’ve learnt so far is quite dull and needs to be repeated at a rate that’s frustrating both for me and my fiancé-coach: “You need to be in the right position to hit a good shot, which is why you’re footwork is very important.” “Try and clip the back of the ball or ‘give it a hair cut’ rather than just whack it.” “Remember, the middle of the court is no man's land.” When things do click into place and I hit a good shot he gets excited, and so do I. “You’ve done a learn,” he says.

If I had to choose one word to describe tennis it would be “civil.” When my fiancé-coach explained that having two balls on you at the start of service was an act of politeness to the other player, I realised that in this game, while you’re trying to beat your opponent you’re also obliged to show them some respect. To just think about my needs during the game and not my opponents would be “uncivilised.”

I hope this will change with my fitness level, but what I most look forward to at our weekend tennis sessions is the end. We do a “civil” hand shake to say thank you for the match before gulping down some water. At this point I like to wander around and watch the end of the other games that all the while have been happening around us. The best are the retirees who always play doubles and have become so efficient at the game they barely take a few steps before lobbing the ball back to the other side. Like me, they come to this beautiful thing, the tennis court, not to perfect top spin or work the court but to hit a piece of rubber covered in felt with someone.

Reid Tennis Club shot by Lee Grant
Reid Tennis Club shot by Lee Grant
Reid Tennis Club shot by Lee Grant
Queanbeyan Tennis Club shot by Lee Grant
Queanbeyan Tennis Club shot by Lee Grant
Queanbeyan Tennis Club shot by Lee Grant
Queanbeyan Tennis Club shot by Lee Grant
Queanbeyan Tennis Club shot by Lee Grant
O'Connor Tennis Club shot by Lee Grant
O'Connor Tennis Club shot by Lee Grant
O'Connor Tennis Club shot by Lee Grant

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This guy is a wrecking machine and he’s hungry!

Scottie came and took some pictures of our Apartments. He kept quoting 'Rocky' films (yes...all of them...). It was annoying. But he did shoot some lovely views.

View from apartment 1415 shot by Scottie Cameron
View from apartment 1504 shot by Scottie Cameron
View from apartment 716 shot by Scottie Cameron
"Yo... It's cold outside, Paulie." - Rocky in Rocky.
View from apartment 1415 shot by Scottie Cameron
View from apartment 1214 shot by Scottie Cameron
"Yo Adrian I did it" - Rocky in Rocky II.
View from apartment 1405 shot by Scottie Cameron
"Come on, Paulie, why don't you screw your head on right." - Rocky in Rocky III.
View from apartment 401 shot by Scottie Cameron
View from apartment 1002 shot by Scottie Cameron
View from apartment 1504 shot by Scottie Cameron
"Yeah, well, was ya ever punched in the face 500 times a night? It stings after a while, ya know." - Rocky in Rocky II.
View from apartment 303 shot by Scottie Cameron
View from apartment 809 shot by Scottie Cameron
"Now when we fought, you had that eye of the tiger, man, the edge!" - Apollo Creed in Rocky III.

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160512_National Gallery of Australia CR Will-Neill

The National Gallery of Australia shot by Will Neill

Raw like sushi… Or the story of the misunderstood brutes of concrete architecture

We made a short film, ‘Brutti ma Buoni’, with Coco and Maximilian and U-P that we will premiere in Melbourne to a live score performed by Speak Percussion at Assemble Papers and Open House Melbourne’s Brutalist Block Party this Friday 20 May. Bar opens at 6PM and the screening starts at 7.30PM.

We’ll be screening in Canberra a little later this year.

By Honey Fingers.

We were sitting on the shores of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin. It was a typical Canberra day: cool, bright, clear. A stiff on-shore breeze whipped up little whitecaps that lapped against the jetty below us. Aspen Island floated out there, on the other side of the lake, and above its little wood of poplar and willow trees the National Carillon (Cameron, Chisholm and Nicol, 1970) pointed forever skywards. I was nerding on about how cool it was – a concrete-block monument to tuned percussion; 55 brass-cast bells ranging from seven kilos to six tonnes, housed in a bell tower stretching 50 metres tall (daydreams of Arvo Pärt compositions raining down on my picnic blanket and so on).

She lit a cigarette and, after a moment, asked me if I thought the Carillon was a brutalist building. Good question. At the time I mumbled something about it being more an example of late-modernist monumentalism (whatever that is), so the question hung out there for me – somewhere between the little waves on the lake and all those bells; unresolved. I’m going to have a crack at answering that question now.

Brutalism – raw ideas lost in translation

But firstly, some definitions. In English we associate the term brute (Middle French brut, from Latin brūtus ‎– ‘dull, stupid, insensible’) with the tough guy – a monster, a thug. Brutus kills Caesar, Brutus socks one to Popeye the Sailor Man. Brutal behavior is considered rough and savage, cruel and uncivilised. It is no surprise then that the honest and uncompromising use of concrete as a building material, brutalism, has fostered negative associations with buildings that, in the eyes of some, lack a certain humanity, are institutional in scale and often associated with (frequently failed) heroic social projects: mid-20th century English social-housing; abandoned communist bus stops in Eastern Europe; poorly maintained and insensitively renovated University dormitories.

The genesis of the term, béton brut, is credited to French architectural master Le Corbusier. He used it to describe his own material preference for projects such as the iconic apartment block Unité d’Habitation (1952) in Marseille, France. Béton brut translates not to ‘dull, stupid and insensible’ architecture but rather to ‘raw concrete’. The term was picked up in English and other languages, kept its French root, and incorporated into the moniker ‘brutalism’ by architects the likes of the Swiss Hans Asplund (who coined nybrutalism, or new brutalism, in the late 1940s) and thinkers such as Reyner Banham (who used it extensively in the late 1960s).

It’s funny to think about what was not only lost in translation – this idea of rawness – but what was also accidentally gained: the deadweight baggage of its English language associations. Imagine how we might think of this movement differently if, for example, the term that slipped into the mainstream of modern English was ‘rawism’, not brutalism. Raw like expertly prepared sushi; raw like superfoods; raw like bold new ideas. Associated with fresh theories about the honesty and purity of good, raw materials – not some thug-life architecture.

Raw power

Brutalism, although often associated with English architects the likes of Alison and Peter Smithson (22 June 1928 – 14 August 1993 and 18 September 1923 – 3 March 2003), came to describe a broad movement across decades, countries and political landscapes. And, like so many loaded design terms, there are debates about definitions and the works to be included, or not, in the oeuvre. For the purposes of this brief lake-side story, let’s define brutalism as a series of buildings, built between the 1950s and 1970s, that were often large and imposing (or had that vibe, even if they were small to medium in scale); were often made of exposed concrete, concrete blocks and ‘unfinished’ materials; and had a sense of raw, heavy sobriety about them. They were often, but not always, public or institutional buildings: social housing, universities, government buildings, public art galleries. But the private sector got a look-in too – there are many fancy brutalist hotels and business towers out there.

Contrary to its bully-boy reputation, it was an architectural movement underpinned by some very noble ideas and good intentions. Brutalism was a serious, if misunderstood, giant of a child seeded by the early 20th century modernist movement. And, much like its parents, was similarly concerned with the development of modernist themes: challenging the assumptions of its predecessors (including modernism itself); the use of mass-produced, cheap materials; was forward looking and caught up in all sorts of heroic ideas of progress and an ambitious, social crusade. These ideas translated well into the socialist architecture of Eastern Europe and social housing projects of free-market western Europe. The egalitarian and unpretentious use of humble concrete – as well as its relatively straightforward, scalable and cost-efficient building process – was a welcome development in rebuilding post-war Europe. But examples can be seen on all populated continents.

There was also an aesthetic pleasure in seeing various textures on the concrete walls: air bubbles, expansion joints, even the wood grain of the formwork. The buildings spoke about their own construction methods and architects often played with this to achieve decorative effects. The simplicity of a raw material used in this way was a fresh counterpoint to both the ornamental, historicist architecture of the 19th century and early 20th century as well as the haughtiness of high modernism. Le Corbusier was right – raw was cool.

So brutalism was appreciated for its aesthetics too and for this reason pops up in nice hotels and those temples of free-market consumerism: American shopping malls (about as far away as you can get from European social housing).

Brutalism’s bad rap has, in many ways, come from the association of the poor being clustered in concrete ghettos as well as the various misfires of socialist modernism. We have learned that even the best and most influential architects cannot solve intergenerational poverty, wealth inequality and other social ills via the design of buildings alone. Architects do not manage social policy or the budgets required to maintain these buildings. And concrete requires maintenance to address leaks and the associated concrete cancer. These big buildings also develop a patina over time – especially in the cool, damp climates of Europe. This natural aging process; a process that tells the story of season after season, is not appreciated by all. For many, a weathered facade is a failed facade. For some the sheer scale and wear and tear of these projects rates a poor one star on their eye candy chart.

In recent years, however, a new appreciation of these gentle giants of 20th century architecture has emerged. The architecture of the 20th century is, in heritage terms, a poor cousin to the often lauded and frequently heritage-listed examples of buildings built up until and including the 19th century. This is especially true in the Australian context. So today we choose to rethink and appreciate brutalism – a raw architecture that tells a story about the honesty of materials, of social design, of bold experimentation in architectural form.

Our test case – the National Carillon

So, back to my favourite bell tower, the National Carillon – is it a brutalist building? Its finish – white quartz chips in white concrete – is a little bit fancy. Raw? I’d say medium rare. It is also remarkably graceful and polite for a big, concrete tower – not in keeping with the brooding heavyweight atmosphere of its brutal siblings. It was a gift from the British Government to the people of Australia to celebrate 50 years of the national capital and free concerts are often played there for the people… So that does tick a few social boxes. Its privileged site on a bespoke island has all sorts of overtones of manicured public prosperity, old Empire and establishment however… For me it is a long way removed from the heroic efforts of brutalism to redefine, for example, social housing in the heart of the Empire, London. I love the thing, I really do, and file it right next to brutalism (its big toe definitely crosses the line into brutalist territory) – but, by this test, it’s not a truly brutal being.

And then there are the gum trees…

When she finished her cigarette we wandered over to the National Gallery of Australia (Colin Madigan and Andrew Andersons, 1970). As we crossed the air bridge that connects the foreshore to the gallery – with its bulky, rough-cast concrete balustrade and simple steel handrail – I stopped for a moment and took it all in. We stood on this bridge high among the trees: the smell of gum leaves trailing over the handrail; the familiar harsh chatter of white and pink parrots just up there, in the canopy; the angular masses of raw concrete, streaked here and there by decades of welcome rains and the soft hues of eucalyptus tannins. I thought to myself: now this is brutalism – and Australian brutalism at that. The weeping habit of a eucalyptus; those grey, mottled trunks; a single crescent-shaped gum leaf – they just look so good against a raw concrete palette.

Some misunderstood beasts

Cameron Offices, Canberra (John Andrews, 1976)

Plumbers and Gasfitters Employees Union Building, Melbourne (Graeme Gunn, 1971)

Robin Hood Gardens, London (Alison and Peter Smithson, 1972)

The Economist Building, London (Alison and Peter Smithson, 1964)

Western City Gate, Belgrade (Mihajlo Mitrović, 1980)

Sri Ram Centre for Art and Culture, New Delhi (Shiv Nath Prasad and Mahendra Raj, 1972).

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View All: Quotes

What matters?

What matters is the need to democratise architecture so it forms part of a continuous urban landscape as one dynamic flow of nature and people, indiscriminate and open, restoring the deep human experience found in the natural environment. By liberating architecture from economics, analytic geometry and cultural prejudices we can begin to create spaces defined by the people in them, not by those who create them.

We don’t want to be stratified into functional units, cocooned in iterative spaces driven by the bottom line. We desire our inner spaces to be connected to the broader urban context, to feel a belonging to the city and its rhythm, yet have the ability to find intimacy in its nooks and crannies that fluid architecture manifests. While architecture is inherently the force that resists or interrupts the natural environment, it should inevitably embrace it, so its edges dissolve forming a natural urban tapestry.

Architecture should create the encounter, not eliminate it. The broad spectrum of emotional engagement we achieve in our natural environment, of awe, excitement, fear, hope and discovery should persist in our planned spaces. To achieve this connectedness requires focus on the negative space, the space that surrounds and penetrates a building. It is through these umbilical connections, doorways, windows, foyers, skylights that offer the opportunity of encounter and surprise. These thin membranes provide an active interface which allow us to modulate the permeability of the building and our experience.

Architecture cannot be understood in isolation of the city. Buildings as freestanding monuments are no more than mausoleums. Architecture must liberate us from our hermetically sealed captivity and create an organic urbanity that enhances our experiences in complex ways, celebrating and challenging our sensory curiosity. This urban fabric is the canvas for our human experience.

Design with a social sensibility will emancipate us from the captive banality and post-industrial class structure we toil in every day. Spaces that yield a social diversity create interest and serendipitous encounters that stoke productivity and innovation. The architect has the power to create behavioural cues to activate a space, but it is the plurality of its occupants that generates a multiplicity of outcomes and engagements.

The vision of architecture should not be unequivocally resolved, but rather should be developed through a messy collaborative process that evolves to a resolution. The process of trial and error, iteration and mistakes, allows design to unfold in ways we could never have comprehended. The there and back again approach which underlies messy processes reveals a pathway of agitative discovery that is at the centre of democratic architecture and design.

Written by Nikos Kalogeropoulos for “Architecture: What Matters?” presented by Sibling at the NGV.

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Orange and Cassia house soda

Orange and cassia housemade soda


  • 10 oranges to make 500 ml of orange juice
    2 cups castor sugar
    2 cassia bark sticks (you can also use cinnamon sticks)


To make orange and cassia syrup

Juice your oranges.

Pour the juice through a strainer to discard pulp.

In a clean pot add your juice castor sugar and cassia bark sticks.

Bring to the boil.

Once boiled, take it off the stove and let it cool for about 20 minutes.

Discard the cassia bark and pour the liquid into a clean bottle.

Keep it refrigerated and it will last for two weeks.

To made orange and cassia housemade soda

Pour 20ml of your orange and cassis syrup into a hi-ball glass.

Top it up with ice.

Fill the glass with soda water and stir.

Drink it up. (A totally inappropriate tune to listen to while you drink your drink).

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Junk Drawer Number Twenty-eight


FILED UNDER Junk Drawer POSTED BY Steph ()

This week

What's on in Canberra in July

Monthly Calendar

Art, Eat Drink, Film, Fix and Make, Live, Market, Music, Party, Talk, Walkabout, Workshop

The Best of What’s On in Canberra in July

Art Walkabout


Within Without

A major Skyspace by American artist James Turrell. It's a beauty - a pyramid, a stupa, a viewing chamber, an offering to and from the sun gods.

WHENEvery day at sunset and sunrise
WHERENational Gallery of Australia


HH GF library

One-day art book shop

Melbourne’s Perimeter Books is holding a one-day art book shop in the Hotel Hotel x Perimeter library. With Warwick Baker, author of 'Belanglo' and Bartolomeo Celestino author of 'Surface Phenomena'.

WHENSaturday July 16 from 10AM to 5PM. 
WHEREHotel Hotel library on the ground floor



Southside Farmer’s Market

Fresh and seasonal produce that you get to buy directly from the region's farmers.

WHENEvery Sunday from 8AM to 11.30AM
WHERECIT Southside Campus, Phillip



Streets of Papunya

Works from the new generation of painters from the epicentre of Western Desert art.

WHENSunday 15 July until Sunday 14 August
WHEREDrill Hall Gallery, ANU

Art Party

160520_Madeline Mill Swarm Trap CR Janelle Low

Swarm Trap

‘Swarm Trap’ is an exhibition of conceptual and functional architectural objects made for one of the planet’s more important species – bees.

WHENOpening party Thursday 30 June from 6PM. Runs until Sunday 10 July.
WHERENishi Gallery


CMAG art Collection Canberra

Michael Taylor: A Survey 1963-2016

The first major survey of expressionist painter Michael Taylor’s works - paintings and drawings from six decades, sourced from major public and private collections throughout Australia.

WHENSaturday 9 July to Sunday 2 October



Jay Kochel avarice : auspice

Large, gold and inflatable, this ambitious project by Canberra artist, Jay Kochel, continues his exploration of the Japanese concept of ‘reading air’.

WHENUntil 18 September


arbus twins

Diane Arbus – American portraits

The photographs of Diane Arbus (1923–1971) are powerful allegories of postwar America. Once seen they are rarely forgotten.

WHENUntil Sunday 30 October
WHERENational Gallery of Australia



Highway to the Wilderness

A solo exhibition by Canberra-based emerging artist Anja Loughhead.

WHENWednesday 13 July Sunday 31 July



Black Box – life, walls and houses

A solo exhibition by Judi Elliott. This body of work is inspired by a description of a life journey and is using Elliott's signature, technical glass styles of cast, cut, fused and assembled glass.

WHENUntil Wednesday 27 August



Embracing Innovation Volume 6

The sixth in the series, 'Embracing Innovation', looks at innovation in the arts with a focus on craft and design.

WHENUntil Wednesday 27 August



Behind your eyes, between your ears

Digital media artist George Khut is making an interactive artwork with his brainwaves by using biomedical sensing technologies to explore embodiment and mind-body processes.

WHENWednesday 29 June to Sunday 17 July
WHERENational Portrait Gallery


Tough and Tender

Tough and Tender

Art by a group of American and Australian artists from the 1960s to now explore the complexities of personal relations and individual expression – their work is intimate and raw.

WHENFriday 15 July to Sunday 16 October
WHERENational Portrait Gallery


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The Wolf in Australian Art

A documentary about Russian-born Australian painter and sculptor, Danila Vassilieff, often referred to as the 'father of Australian modernism'.

WHENSaturday 23 July at 2PM
WHERENational Gallery of Australia



Philip Dadson: Sonics from Scratch

A portrait of sound artist and musician Phil Dadson, his ensemble 'Scratch' and the role of collectivism in art.

WHENWednesday 13 July at 6.30PM
WHERENational Gallery of Australia
COST$12 - $16



Heart of a dog (R 15+)

A story by musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson about love, death and what it means to be human... With her dog Lolabelle as guide.

WHENWednesday 6 July at 6.30PM
WHERENational Gallery of Australia
COST$12 0 $16



Juñor Free-Mined Mix Tape Launch

Dreamland hip-hop artist, Melbourne's 'Juñor' is taking his psychedelic show on the road for a debut national tour. With 'Genesis Owusu' and local fave 'Jedbrii'.

WHENThursday 7 July at 8PM




Electronic folk soul - Sydney based 'Ngaiire' is on a national tour with her second album 'Blastoma' with her friends LANKS and Jack Grace.

WHENSaturday 9 July from 8PM



Playful Sound: Adi Toohey

'Playful Sound' (experimental multimedia event curators) are bring Adi Toohey to town to DJ. Come for a boogie.

WHENFriday 1 July from 9PM to 2AM



Fiona Hall: Wrong Way Time

The NGA hosts Australian artist Fiona Hall's installation from the 2015 Venice Biennale. Hall brings together disparate elements that find alignment around politics, finance and the environment.

WHENUntil Sunday 17 July
WHERENational Gallery of Australia
GOWrong Way Times

Eat Drink Music


Strings in the Salon

The Canberra Symphony Orchestra are coming back to play us some beautiful music in the Monster Salon and Dining rooms. There are two ticket types - one with lunch and simple entry.

WHENSunday 24 July from 1PM to 3PM
WHEREMonster kitchen and bar Salon and Dining rooms
COSTTwo course lunch (main and dessert) and entry $65 / simple entry $15


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Yoga on level eight

Odona Farska teaches stretchy yoga (hatha) on level eight of the Nishi building. This one is for the Thursday crew.

WHENThursdays 6.15PM to 7.30PM
WHERELevel 8, Nishi building, 2 Phillip Law Street, NewActon
COSTFrom $15



Other Loves

Shanti Shea An's work explores the role of intimacy and touch in painting.

WHENThursday 23 June to Sunday 3 July


life drawing

Long Pose Life Drawing

Nish Art Collective drawing sessions with local artist Meg Morton. These are unguided sessions with longer poses (than the original sessions).

WHENThe first and third Tuesday of the month from 6PM to 8PM
WHERELevel eight of the Nishi building - meet at the bottom of the Grand stair at 5.50PM



Scandinavian Film Festival

The Scandinavian Film Festival is back. Australian premieres of films from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland.

WHEN Tuesday 12 July to Sunday 24 July
WHEREPalace Electric Cinema



Bringing Out the Dead

Often overlooked, this film makes the most of Nicolas Cage’s borderline psychotic onscreen persona. Cage is Frank, an emergency paramedic working the skeleton shift for too many years.

WHENFriday 15 July at 7PM
WHERENational Film and Sound Archive
COST$14 / $12



New York, New York

Liza Minnelli’s singer and Robert De Niro’s saxophonist meet on VJ Day, and together they make amazing music.

WHENSunday 10 July at 2PM
WHERENational Film and Sound Archive
COST$14 / $12




One of Scorsese’s greatest.

WHENFriday 8 July at 7PM
WHERENational Film and Sound Archive
COST$14 / $12



Raging Bull

It’s Scorsese at NFSA. Good and creepy times. Love Scorcese. Love De Niro. Double love 'Raging Bull' (1980, M).

WHENSaturday 2 July at 7PM
WHERENational Film and Sound Archive
COST$14 / $12



Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974, PG). When Alice’s bore of a husband is killed in a highway accident, she takes to the road with her young son, seeking a new life, possibly as a singer.

WHENSaturday 2 July at 2PM
WHERENational Film and Sound Archive
COST$14 / $12



Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver (1976, R18+). 'Are you talking to me?’ Robert De Niro’s Vietnam veteran Travis Bickle works a night job driving taxis in New York, driven to action by the crime and debauchery...

WHENFriday 1 July at 7PM
WHERENational Film and Sound Archive
COST$14 / $12




An exhibition of recent paintings and mono-prints by Sue Chancellor, Elisa Crossing and Phil Page that brings together their thoughts on places over time.

WHENThursday 16 June Sunday 3 July




BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! Poetry slam every third Wednesday of the month. Sign-up 7:30pm, SLAM from 8PM.

WHENEvery third Wednesday of the month. Sign up from 7.30PM.
WHEREThe Phoenix


Self portrait

Mysterious Eyes: Arthur Boyd portraits

In this focus exhibition Boyd’s self-portrait at age 25 is joined by his portraits of those around him.

WHENWednesday 4 May to Sunday 14 August
WHERENational Portrait Gallery




Yoga with a view.

WHENSaturdays 8AM to 9.15AM
WHERELevel 8, Nishi building, 2 Phillip Law Street, NewActon
COSTFrom $15


The Other Shore

Wei Leng Tay: The Other Shore

The Other Shore asks how one’s sense of self is entwined with national identity, and how a host environment affects our outlook and everyday lives.

WHENUntil Friday 15 July
WHEREAustralian Centre on China in the World, Fellows Lane, ANU



Stronger than Fiction

Stronger than Fiction is a documentary film festival featuring, you guessed it... documentaries from around the world. Watch this space for the line up.

WHEREPalace Electric Cinema


Bicycle Market

Bicycle Market

Goodspeed bikes are all geared up for their monthly market. Second hand, spare, rare, collectable and vintage parts for sale.

WHENFirst Sunday of the Month
WHEREKendall Lane New Acton


farmer market

Farmers Market

Food from farmers and producers in and around Canberra.

WHENEvery Saturday 7.30 to 11.30AM
WHEREExhibition Park



Life Drawing

Nishi Art Collective life drawing classes with local artist Meg Morton. Materials and models included.

WHENSecond and last Tuesday of the month at 6PM to 8PM
WHERELevel eight of the Nishi building - meet at the bottom of the Grand stair at 5.50PM

Party Walkabout


No lights no lycra

A chance to dance however the hell you want to for an hour and a half on a Wednesday night. No Lights No Lycra are the organisers, DJs and controllers of the light switch, which they will turn off.

WHENWednesdays 7.30PM
WHERESt John’s Anglican Church in Reid
View All: What's On

The Don

Meandering room shot by Ross Honeysett

Don Cameron is the film director who helped co-create, design and curate the rooms at Hotel Hotel (alongside Nectar of Molonglo Group and Ken of Darlinghurst). Yes film director. This background may not be the obvious choice…The guy that directed Blur’s ‘Music is My Radar’, Garbage’s ‘Androgyny’ (ouah love that one) and the Pet Shop Boys’ ‘Minimal’ music videos…but to us it makes total sense.

In a film Don is always looking at how images convey an emotion; which is exactly the same as for a hotel, the only difference being that it has to last. Don sees rooms as a set with props that are there to engage the guest to create their own narrative of rest and introspection. He sees the items that make up the interiors as unique characters that you interact with and that have a past; many of the pieces are vintage pieces that have been reupholstered and at times repurposed. The chairs are mostly 20th century Australian pieces that have been sitting in Ken’s warehouse for the past 30 years, waiting for their cameo appearance. The in-room fittings (the bed heads, banquettes, wardrobe…) have been rebirthed from 200 year old oak reclaimed from granaries in the Loire Valley in France that made their way to Australia at the beginning of the 1900s.

Staging for a meaningful experience is evident in Don’s description of a room, ”When you open the door you never see a work desk but instead you see a chair or piece of art presented in a situation of repose”. The process has been to strip back all the items usually found in a hotel room and replace them with unexpected items not usually put together.

Just as important as what has been placed in the rooms is what hasn’t been placed there. For example, rather than having desks in all of the rooms, the boys opted for a console in some. Arranged as a challenge to not come back to your room and work.

Don’s set inspiration began with Nectar’s idea of an Australian shack and a response to Australia’s dry bush capital. It was interpreted as a textural experience that was achieved by using materials like unstained woods, clay rendered walls, natural fibre wallpapers, leather, mild steel, brass, linens and Berber weave carpets; as well as playing with light. The eternal mantra for this project was “no veneers” and it extends to the building itself. Wherever possible the process of construction and the architecture has been acknowledged.

To get the set just right they redesign the pieces that didn’t make them happy like taps, towel rails and brass tables. The thinking around these designs were again a study in feeling. For example, the unscreened wardrobes are designed in such a way as to encourage guests to unpack their bags and hang up their clothes so that it feels more like you are moving in, not just staying over.

Don’s favourite rooms are number 133 “for the journey down its long corridor, meeting up with a hung boucherouite rug, not knowing where the path leads. Then the right angle where you are presented with a bed and off it a sitting area. As you approach the window you get a view of the central atrium, with its forest of salvaged Dicksonia Antarctica tree ferns, that offers you an intimate look across the space of the internal hotel. Once there you notice that there is another door that leads into the bathroom which opens into a huge space with bath, twin head shower and a five metre benchtop. That for me is a beautiful room in terms of the surprising unfolding narrative that you get physically moving through the space.”

“The other room I really enjoy is 211. You are right on the nose cone of the building and you feel like you are floating above the view. As you walk in there is a dressing area with an artwork hanging on the wall. You can either go right into the bathroom that has structural columns inside the space or you go through to the bedroom which is a trapezoidal shape and again you have structural columns in the room. I like that in 211 you have a sense of structure in the building. This exposed structure playing against a beautifully restored wooden chair. These are the narratives and dialogues we wanted to create.”

Don’s latest contributions to Hotel Hotel is by way of the ‘Perfect Imperfect’ exhibition by Karen McCartneySharyn Cairns and Glen Proebstel in collaboration with Hotel Hotel.

The exhibition was born from the pages of, and launches, a new book of the same name by the trio, published by Murdoch Books. It brings together contemporary design with well- worn objects to explore the established aesthetic of wabi-sabi from a new standpoint where craftspeople, designers and artists are combining handmade processes with new technologies for making.

Don’s photography and collected objects will be exhibited alongside works by Jacqui Fink, Harriet Goodall, Nicholas Jones, John Wardle and many more.

The ‘Perfect Imperfect’ book and exhibition will launch at Nishi Gallery today (Wednesday April 27) at 6PM and run until Monday May 8.

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